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Slough Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Guide to Personal Budgets and Social Care Direct Payments

We want to support children, young people with SEND and their families to be independent, have more choice and control over their lives, participate fully in their own communities and lead connected lives. A Personal Budget can be used to provide support in more creative and personal ways.

This guidance, available in pdf format in the 'Downloads' section, explains the approach taken by Slough Borough Council, Slough Children’s Services Trust and Berkshire Health Foundation Trust (BHFT) to Personal Budgets across education, health and social care for children and young people aged 0-25 years who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and Social Care Direct Payments.

EHC plans set out the additional support that a child or young person with SEND needs to thrive and succeed. 

Introduction

We want to support children, young people with SEND and their families to be independent, have more choice and control over their lives, participate fully in their own communities and lead connected lives. A Personal Budget can be used to provide support in more creative and personal ways.

This guidance explains the approach taken by Slough Borough Council, Slough Children’s Services Trust and Berkshire Health Foundation Trust (BHFT) to Personal Budgets across education, health and social care for children and young people aged 0-25 years who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

EHC plans set out the additional support that a child or young person with SEND needs to thrive and succeed.

What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget is an amount of money that children and young people with an EHC plan and/or their families can use to pay for some or all the provision named in their plan so that they can organise their support. It might contain funding from education, health and/or social care.

What can I use a Personal Budget for?

A Personal Budget can be used to purchase any services or support that has been agreed in a child or young person's EHC Plan. However, there are some practical limitations, for example:

  • You cannot spend more than the allocated budget. (Although it is possible to supplement the Personal Budget from other sources such as Disability Living Allowance, personal finances or a local charity)
  • Any support or provision for use within a school requires the head teacher's consent
  • Personal Budgets cannot be used to purchase a school place

Who can have a Personal Budget?

Young people and parents/carers of children can request a Personal Budget once the local authority has agreed to prepare a draft EHC plan. They can also request a Personal Budget when their existing EHC plan is reviewed.

When we consider a request for a Personal Budget, we have to be confident that:

  • It is good value for money. For example, it must not mean that less funding is available to support other children and young people with an EHC plan who have chosen not to have a Personal Budget
  • The young person and/or their family can manage the Personal Budget properly
  • We cannot offer a Personal Budget to young people or families who have been required by the law to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.

Funding arrangements

Funding can be arranged in one, or a combination, of the following ways:

  • A budget paid directly to parents and young people
  • A 'notional budget', where parents and young people do not handle the funding directly but can tell the local authority how they want the money to be spent
  • A budget held by a third party, or broker, who handles the funding on behalf of the family

Home to School Transport

If you meet the criteria set out in Slough Borough Council’s SEN Transport Policy, you may be able to apply for a personal transport budget (currently 45p per mile). This will be agreed as long as it is good value for money.

Social Care Direct Payments

Where this is appropriate, Slough Children’s Services Trust and Slough Adult Social Care can arrange for direct payments to help with care.

Slough Children’s Services Trust

A Direct Payment is money given to young people age 16 years or over with a disability or their parents or carers. It can be used to buy support that the Trust would usually provide through its own services. Direct Payments do not affect benefits.
To make a direct payment the Trust must be satisfied that the recipient:

  • Is able to manage the Direct Payment - either themselves or with support that the Trust thinks an applicant or their nominated person should be able to obtain
  • Will use the payment appropriately to meet the assessed needs
  • Will act in the best interests of the child or young person.

Unless the Trust considers it is necessary to do so, direct payments cannot be used to pay for services from your husband or wife, partner or a close relative living in the household.

However, a direct payment can be used to employ a relative who does not live in the household. For more information please contact Slough Children’s Services Trust on 01753 477 321.

Slough Adult Social Care

Adult Social Care Services want to help people live independently with more choice and control over the care and support they need.
Most people who have been assessed as needing social care support and are eligible to receive a service from the council can receive direct payments. If you are eligible, you will be given clear information how much your care costs and helped to decide how you want to spend that money - this is called ‘self-directed support’. A direct payment is one way in which self-directed support can help you to take charge of how you get the help you need.

Everyone’s support needs are considered individually following an assessment of their care needs to see if they are eligible to receive services under the Care and support planning process. Full details can be found on Slough Borough Council website

Personal Health Budgets

Young people and parents/carers of children eligible for continuing health care (See Appendix 2 and 3) have a right to have a personal health budget to meet their assessed health needs.

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support health and wellbeing needs. It is planned and agreed between you (or someone who represents you), and your local NHS team.

It is not new money, but it may mean spending money differently so that you can get the care that you need in a way that works best for you.

The right to have a personal health budget only applies to adults receiving NHS continuing healthcare (NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital) and children in receipt of continuing care. Find out more about continuing care for children and young people (PDF, 560kb)

If you do not fall into either of the eligible patient groups but you are interested in a personal health budget then you should speak to your local clinical commissioning group (CCG).

CCGs make the arrangements for personal health budgets and are all encouraged to offer them to other patient groups.

What happens if our circumstances change?

Any changes in a family’s circumstances will be taken into account as part of the regular review of needs and the Personal Budget/direct payments, which is also an opportunity for the family and/or young person to say how the arrangements are working for them.

Ceasing Personal Budgets

The Local Authority may cease payments if:
• The young person or their family is required by the law to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol abuse
• The Personal Budget is not being used for the specific purpose outlined in the EHCP - unless the LA has given permission to use it in a different way
• The payment is having an adverse impact on support and/or provision for other children and young people with an EHCP
• A young person who is no longer of statutory school age decides that she or he does not want to a Personal Budget

Applying for a Personal Budget

Young People and/or their parents or carers can request a personal budget when a draft Education, Health and Care Plan is issued or at the annual review of an EHC Plan.

If you want to request a personal budget, a SEND Officer will meet with you to discuss the options and help you decide whether it would be the right thing for you. If you choose to go ahead, the SEND Officer can also assist you in preparing your request, including how you intend to use the Personal Budget and how it will help to achieve the outcomes set out in your child or young person’s EHC Plan. If necessary, the SEND Officer will also seek the headteacher’s consent for any part of a Personal Budget that might affect the funding available to the school and/or is expected to be delivered within the school.

All requests for a Personal Budget are considered by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Panel. The Panel will make a recommendation that the Local Authority will consider in making its decision. The decision, and reasons for it, will then be communicated to you in writing. If the Personal Budget is not agreed, you can request a formal review of the decision.

The SEND Information and Advice Support Service (SENDIASS) is also available to advise and support you.

Requesting a direct payment from Social Care

You need to contact Slough Children’s Services Trust on 01753 477 321 email: emailus@scstrust.co.uk or Adult Social Care Services on 01753 475111 or by email to adultsocialcare@slough.gov.uk and ask for a social care assessment.

If you already get help from Slough Children’s Services Trust or Adult Social Care Services, say that you want to change to direct payments

This guidance relates to the duties of Slough Borough Council in relation to personal budgets as outlined within the Children and Families Act, 2014 (section 49) (See Appendix 1) and associated legislation (SEND Code of Practice) (Appendix 2)

Appendices